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Laksmi Divali (Festival of Light)
There is a significantly large Hindu population in Britain and Divali, or the Festival of Light, held in honour of the Hindu goddess of prosperity ‘Laksmi’  is their New Year festival. It is generally celebrated in the autumn between October and November. Homes are cleaned thoroughly on the day of the festival and as dusk falls lamps and candles are lit in every room of the house and outside in the front porch and garden. Then, weather permitting, the doors and windows are opened to let in the goddess to bless the house and its inhabitants. The lights are also used to scare away Alaksmi, the goddess of misfortune. People may also smash a statue of her to indicate that she is not welcome in the home. Other rituals that are observed include the celebration of a family feast. Food seems to play a major part in all festivals, irrespective of culture!

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Ramadan
Islam is the second largest religion in Britain and Ramadan is one of the major festivals celebrated by Muslims. Throughout Ramadan,  a strict fast is observed during the hours of daylight and Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink anything at all. They are encouraged to read the Koran during the festival in commemoration of the night of power when it is believed that the prophet Muhammad received the first of the revelations from the angel Gabriel. It is on these revelations that the Koran (the holy book of Islam) is based. In common with all other festivals, the rituals include the family getting together to have family feasts. These take place between dusk and dawn. 

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Spring Festival (Chinese New Year)
It is called Spring Festival because it starts at the beginning of spring. While the actual origins of the festival are unclear, there appears to be common agreement in literary sources that it is traceable to the legend of a monster named Nian who used to prey on people the night before the start of the New Year. Nian was finally driven away by an immortal god who left behind instructions to keep it away. These instructions are the basis of many of the rituals that are still observed during the festival by Chinese communities all around the world today - including putting up red decorations and letting off fire crackers to scare Nian away should it still be running around. In common with many other new year festivals, Spring Festival is seen as a time of renewal, with people buying new clothes, eating traditional foods like joazi or dumplings and families generally reuniting and strengthening their ties with each other. The festival culminates with the festival of lanterns which is a time for lighting lanterns, singing and folk dancing.

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Notting Hill Carnival
This is the largest street festival in Europe, held in London’s Notting Hill area each August. The Carnival began in the early 1960s among the West Indian community in London as a celebration of the end of slavery in the West Indies. It has grown every year since that time and is now a major tourist attraction in the Capital. More than a million people each year attend the festival, including visitors from overseas as well other parts of Britain. The festival includes a carnival parade of as many as 100 bands in fancy dress; some of the costumes are so elaborate that they take many months to plan and prepare. 

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Summer Music Festivals
Holding outdoor music festivals is a relatively new part of contemporary British life stemming from the rock festivals of the 1970s, when hundreds of thousands of people would gather for a weekend in a park or country setting to listen to contemporary rock musicians. These festivals, which in the past were seen as a sign of the decadence of youth by many older people in Britain, are now accepted as a natural part of the British summer. Today thousands of  young people attend rock festivals at  Reading, Cambridge and Glastonbury. They camp out in all weathers to enjoy a holiday, good music, and the company of friends. The original idea has developed and  includes all musical genres. It is now possible to find festivals that cater for fans of many different types of music including, amongst others, reggae, country and western music, jazz,  folk, bluegrass.  

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